Trump Defies Political Gravity Even For Down-Ballot Republicans

Jason Hopkins
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Posted: Oct 14, 2016 10:00 AM
Trump Defies Political Gravity Even For Down-Ballot Republicans

We are now less than a month away from Election Day and Trump is still falling in the polls in the aftermath of the “Access Hollywood Tapes" showing him making sexually crude comments. This has got Republican lawmakers sweating.

In a conference call with donors earlier this week, Speaker Paul Ryan laid out the dire situation. He recalled when House Republicans lost 20 seats in 2008 when John McCain lost to Barack Obama by seven percentage points. Polls now have Trump trailing Clinton nationally by almost 10 percentage points.

Democrats need to win 30 seats to retake control of the House of Representatives.

To the absolute dismay of Trump, Ryan made the announcement after the Access Tapes that he would no longer be defending the Republican nominee and that House Republicans should be concerned with only their own congressional races.

The strategy is to create a divide between Trump and down-ballot Republicans. Dissociating from the presidential nominee should he keep plummeting in the polls could save Republicans from being dragged down with him.

It’s a smart strategy. However, looking at polling performances of candidates in swing states, it may not even be completely necessary. Polls show Senate and other down-ballot Republicans outperforming Trump in many areas of the country.

Seemingly, the Republican nominee is so “different” he is having the smallest repercussions on down-ballot Republicans than ever before in a national election.

Nate Silver, polling guru of FiveThirtyEight, shows how Trump’s dipping poll numbers have had minimal to no effect on Republican’s chances of losing the Senate – staying roughly around the 50 percent mark.

In Nevada, Trump is trailing Clinton by six points. However, Rep. Joe Heck (R) is beating his rival for the Senate seat by three. The Nevada race essentially hasn’t changed since this summer – despite the ups and downs of the presidential race.

In Ohio, the RCP average has Clinton besting Trump by 2.3 points. At the same time, the RCP average has Senator Rob Portman beating his rival by... 15 points!

We see similar trends in other swing states where Trump is losing but Republican candidates are winning. Marco Rubio is ahead in Florida by an average of almost five points. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is tied with his Democratic challenger while Trump is losing the Keystone State by almost double digits.

Focus groups prove what polling differences are already showing us. Democrats are having a difficult time tying Donald Trump to other Republicans running for office.

Trump touts he is not a politician. He demonstrates that he is against the “norm” of Washington D.C. Given how his down-ballot effect is nothing like a presidential candidate before him – he is certainly telling the truth.